Review: Natural Hair, Inc.

by Jackie

I’m hair lazy. Every now and then, I get inspired and do a meticulous twist-and-curl style, but for the other 50 weeks of the year, I alternate between wash-and-gos and the occasional blow out. I’m pretty sure this qualifies me for a spot on the bench on #TeamNatural, but not everyone was made to be a starter, and I’m ok with that. The folks at NaturalHair, Inc. seem to understand just how little effort I am willing to put into my hair and sent me some no-fuss products to try.

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The Juice is a detangling spray, and the appropriately titled Hair Crack is a luscious conditioning hair mask from Natural Hair, Inc.

Following the product instructions, I deep conditioned my hair with their Hair Crack and The Juice. The Juice is a detangling formula that I sprayed on my scalp and roots and the Hair Crack is a conditioning mask that I raked through my hair from root to tip with my fingers. I then used a shower cap (thanks for sending that along, too!) and let the combo work its magic for about 30 minutes while I straightened up my room. I co-washed like I normally do and used a paddle brush while in the shower. At first, it seemed like every other conditioner, lots of slip and shine.

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I’ll never use a wide-tooth comb again. The paddle brush detangled and clumped my curls. It’s the truth!

After air drying (which takes a long time, like a really long time) I noticed that my hair is much softer and seems more moisturized than when I deep conditioned in the past. While it is a tad bit pricier than I’m used to, I think I’ll be back for another hit of that Hair Crack!

Day 2 hair: big, soft, and fluffy.

Day 2 hair: big, soft, and fluffy.

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Nailing Throwback Thursday

by Jackie

Gave myself a flawless manicure in 10 minutes.

Gave myself a flawless manicure in 10 minutes.

You know that feeling. Your nails look like you’ve been landscaping all day, but you don’t have the time to get to the spa or wait for a base coat, two color coats, and a top coat to dry (even quick dry top coats take time because you have to wait for the the other coats to dry before you apply it. Let me quote the prolific Sweet Brown, “Ain’t nobody got time for that!”).

I was making a mad dash to bed the other night because I had a big day ahead of me that started at 5:00 a.m. I knew if I tried to give myself a full mani, that I’d end up smudging all of my nails in my sheets.  What’s a girl to do?! Sitting in my mani box was the answer, a package of press-on nails that I got from ImPRESS Press-On Manicure by Broadway Nails some months earlier in NYC. I know what you’re thinking: “Press-on nails? That’s so 1992.” I promise you, these look better and feel sturdier than the ones I used to play dress-up with as a little beauty queen wannabe. So far, I like them better than nail stickers because they don’t bubble and the application was quick and easy — prep, peel, stick. Voila!

I think this will be my summer mani go-to. I’ll spend the time I would have spent on my nails at the pool. Oh, and it’s only about $6, so it definitely beats a pricey salon visit.

This color is perfect for whenever it decides to stop snowing.

This color is perfect for whenever it decides to stop snowing.

A*cute Review: The Five-Year Engagement

by Jackie

The Five-Year Engagement Hits Theaters April 27.

I’ve come to terms with the fact that there will never be another Wedding Crashers. Ever. Vince Vaughn, Owen Wilson, and Will Ferrell managed to forge a new form of rom com — one that is low on the rom and heavy on the com. Since then, what-else-could-possibly-go-wrong wedding movies like The Hangover and Bridesmaids have come close to achieving Crashers status by sticking to the formula: buddy comedy in which impossible hijinks ensue when another one bites the dust and decides to get hitched. The Five-Year Engagement starring Emily Blunt (Violet) and co-screenwriter Jason Segel (Tom) wins because it adds one more element to the mix — real-life drama.

The movie starts with a fairy-tale ending, and crams the couple’s five-year journey to their on-again-off-again wedding into two hours. Tom and Violet relocate from sunny San Francisco to frigid Michigan so that Violet can pursue her career in academia. Tom, poised to become head chef of a hot new seafood bar in the Bay Area, delays his dream and works in a sandwich shop while Violet gets closer to achieving her dream, and her boss.

Viewers will appreciate the film’s departure from the typical rom com formula. Tom and Violet become more than just characters with sarcastic one-liners, they slowly morph into a reflection of a real-life couple that struggles with the complexities of two individuals trying desperately to live one life. Things quickly go from “Nothing’s perfect” to “Nothing’s right” and they are left to decide whether the storybook ending they anticipated is worth writing in the first place.

But, “Elmo thinks there is no right cookie. You just have to pick one and take a bite.”  (It’s one of those, you-had-to-be-there moments. And, trust me, you have to be there.)

Obsessed: Samsung Charge

by Jackie 

If it wasn’t for the difference in time period, I’d swear that poet Dylan Thomas wrote Do Not Go Gentle Into That Goodnight” for my old cell phones. There was the Motorola that was abducted at Fuddrucker’s, the hybrid touchscreen/tactile keyboard that drowned itself in a cup of tea, and alas my HTC Droid, lovingly known as The Hulk, that took a shattering fall on a tile floor.  Though he can never be replaced, I headed to Verizon to get an upgraded Droid, and decided on the Samsung Charge (named Cash).

It is by far the fanciest phone I’ve ever had, complete with all of the bells and whistles including a super fast 4G network, an upgrade from the 3G that I had. The selling point was the screen. While it’s one of the slimmest smartphones on the market (extra important for nights out when I’m carrying a cute little clutch), the screen is huge and the visuals are clear. It’s also rumored to have the best Droid battery life. For someone like me, who is a gadget nerd and uses cell phones for more than just 15-minute convos, that’s key.

My fave app so far, is Rockband. Equipped with my headphones, I’m ready for my commute.

I still have a lot of practicing to do. 🙂

Monday at the Movies: Crazy, Stupid, Love

by Jackie

I usually approach romantic comedies with an over-dramatic mock-gag gesture that expresses how I feel about the predictability of the unlikely-pairing-turns-perfect-couple-amidst-impossible-obstacles-and-one-liners theme.  (There are a few exceptions — three to be exact — Dirty Dancing, Love and Basketball, and  Love Jones.)  I usually opt for mob movies like The Departed or The Boondock Saints, action films like Face/Off , or coming-of-age comedies like Easy A. I was a bit skeptical when I heard the typical romantic comedy selling point of Crazy, Stupid, Love: “It’s not your typical romantic comedy.” But, I couldn’t resist seeing any movie featuring Emma Stone, the sometimes-scarlet-headed, always hilariously sarcastic lead in today’s version of The Scarlet Letter, Easy A. A creative and unpredictable storyline, witty writing, and spot-0n casting makes Crazy, Stupid, Love anything but your typical romantic comedy.

The movie is completely gag-proof, and actually funny. It digs deeper than the usual one-dimensional portrayals of puppy love and explores the everyday experience we all have and can relate to: friendship. Typically, in RomComs, friendship is the B story, providing comedic elements to move the film along. This movie is truly about the importance of friendship, sans the corny side-kick routines.

I also especially enjoyed the smartly tailored suits worn by Ryan Gosling in the film. I’m a sucker for a pressed and slim-fit button down. (No, no.  I couldn’t leave that detail out.)

Julianne Moore plays a character she's familiar with a la the confused wife in The Kids Are Alright opposite an irresistibly human Steve Carell in Crazy, Stupid, Love.

Emma Stone as Hannah. Hannah's BFF provides a hilariously necessary backdrop to Hannah's all-too-common conflict: head vs. heart.

Ryan Gosling's character, Jacob, falls for the father figure in Cal, played by Steve Carell.

Body Like Oprah

by Jackie

Real or fake? Relaxed or natural? Oprah’s hair has been at the center of many hair debates. Frankly, I don’t care. Whatever her secret is, it’s working big and beautifully.

I wore my hair natural until my senior year of high school, when I realized that my mom would not be around to twist or press my hair once or twice a week.  I’ve been texturizing for the past few years because it’s less harsh on my delicate tresses and allows me to still do a wash-and-go curly style when I want to.  My hairdresser suggested that I use an even gentler formula to texturize and recently switched me to the Phytorelaxer system.  After two uses in the past 6 months, I can honestly say, I’m in love! Though it makes my hair easy to straighten, either by a roller set or blow-dry/flat iron process, it still allows my hair to have bounce and body.

The system can be costly, but I don’t put a price on quality when it comes to healthy hair. I try to only go to the salon when I need to get it texturized and do my wash-and-sets at home. Buying my own hood dryer years ago has been one of the best investments I’ve ever made.

 

The bigger the hair, the better! (Photo by Leonard Poteat)

Doing my hair in my "at-home salon" cuts costs.

After an at-home wash and roller set.

The at-home salon: after a shampoo, deep condition, blow-dry, and flat-iron. I only use cold-warm settings to avoid damage.

 

I pin-curl my hair every night to keep the style fresh.

I love body!